Degree in Prosthetics

As a field, prosthetics can be challenging due to the fact that each prosthesis must be individually crafted using the proper materials to ensure that the limb is designed and built according to the needs of a specific individual.

If you are interested in learning more about how to become a professional in the field of prosthetics, read on.

What is prosthetics?

Prosthetics is a field which is concerned with the creation, design, and testing of artificial limbs for individuals who have lost their limbs. Prosthetic patients are generally born with a limb problem or deficiency or have had certain limbs removed via amputation due to accidents, trauma, infection, etc.

In order to create effective prosthetic limbs, a professional in this field must have a thorough understanding of anatomy in order to create artificial limbs which may restore mobility and function for patients.

The field of prosthetics is rapidly advancing due to improvements in technology. This makes artificial limbs capable of more closely mimicking the movements of human form. For this reason, demand for professionals in this field is rapidly growing.

How to pursue a career in prosthetics?

If you are interested in pursuing a career in the field of prosthetics, you will need to determine where in the field you wish to work. If you know what path you want to pursue, you will have a better idea of what educational qualifications you need.

For entry level positions in prosthetics, generally an associate’s degree in the field may suffice. However, if you wish to work in the clinical aspect of prosthetics, teaching, or research and design, you will need an advanced degree.

In general, here are the steps you need to follow to pursue prosthetics:

Steps to becoming a prosthetics professional:

1. Get an associate’s degree in the field of prosthetics

2. Get an bachelor’s degree in the field of prosthetics

3. Get an master’s degree in the field of prosthetics

4.  Gain relevant clinical and practical experience in the field

Associate's Degree in Prosthetics

Two-year associate's degree program help students learn all of the foundational skills required to make custom fitting prosthesis. You will learn how to measure a patient’s limb, select the proper materials for the prosthetics needed, and make the prosthesis.

These programs involve both classroom components as well as practical experience in the fabrication lab.  As part of the program, you may be required to complete an internship.

Degree

Duration

Some of the courses offered

Associate’s degree in prosthetics

2 years

  • Leg and foot prosthetics
  • Anatomy
  • Pedorthics
  • Arm and hand prosthetics
  • Prosthetics materials

Bachelor's Degree in Prosthetics

Bachelor’s degrees in prosthetics build upon what is learned in the associate’s degree. Students will be introduced to kinesiology in order to understand the proper functioning of joints and muscles and how they affect a patient’s gait.  

This degree will allow you to better understand how to optimize the fit and effectiveness of a prosthesis by understanding how a patient will use it. You will also learn advanced techniques and skills in the manufacturing of artificial limbs.

Degree

Duration

Some of the courses offered

Bachelor’s degree in prosthetics

4 years

  • Biomechanics
  • Lower extremity prosthetics
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Physics
  • Exercise physiology
  • Upper extremity prosthetics
  • Kinesiology  

Master's Degree in Prosthetics

Graduate programs in the field of prosthetics are designed to prepare students to take on entry level positions in the clinical field of prosthetics. They are also intended for those who wish to pursue careers in teaching or research and design in the field.

As part of the master’s program, you will be taking part in clinical work and will be required to complete a 12-month residency. This will allow you to gain hands on experience consulting with patients, fitting prosthetic limbs, and dealing with pain and psychological assessment and management for patients who have lost a limb.

Degree

Duration

Some of the courses offered

Master’s degree in prosthetics

2 years + residency

  • Materials science
  • Exercise science
  • Gait analysis
  • Biomechanics
  • Computer aided design
  • Kinesiology
  • Fabrication of prosthetics
  • Anatomy
  • Physiology
  • Medical ethics
  • Patient care
  • Data analysis

What are the career prospects for Prosthetists?

In order to understand what a career in prosthetics could look like and yield in terms of salary, interested individuals can look to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for a detailed career profile for this profession.

BLS has collected data about the national estimates for this profession as of May 2016. These include:

Employment in the profession (May 2016)

Mean Hourly Wage

Mean Annual Wage

7,500    

$33.62  

$69,920                

Employment in this field is expected to grow rapidly and substantially between 2014 and 2024. According to BLS, there is expected to be a 23% growth rate during this period which is much higher than the average rate of growth for all professions at 7%.

Furthermore, there are certain industries which have very high levels of employment in this profession. These include:

Industry

Annual Mean Wage

Medical Equipment and Supplies Manufacturing

$73,850

Health and Personal Care Stores

$65,290

Offices of Other Health Practitioners

$68,230

Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation)

$70,180

General Medical and Surgical Hospitals

$59,100

Most professionals in this field work full-time. The salary that you are capable of making in this profession will vary depending upon the industry you choose to work in.

Ask your Question


* All Fields are Required
Call Now(877) 721-2529